Sustainability

CT Farm to School Collaborative Welcomes Nyree Hodges

Nyree HodgesWe are thrilled to introduce Nyree Hodges, our new Project Coordinator of the CT Farm To School Collaborative. She will be our point person for all future steps on the CT Farm to School Action Plan.  Here’s a little bit about Nyree:
Nyree brings several years of experience as a non-formal educator/teacher in environmental education, nutrition, and service learning. Nyree has worked with a variety of community-based organizations in New Haven and Bridgeport, including buildOn, Green Village Initiative, FoodCorps, Healthy CT Alliance, and Common Ground. She finds it essential to be informed and in solidarity with every person in our community, to acknowledge and sustain diversity, anti-racism, and inclusivity. Nyree has a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences- Community Health Education. She is committed to active listening and implementing the hard work put into the FTS Action Plan from her predecessor(s). 
Please welcome Nyree! 

Ask UConn Extension Your Questions

Indu
Indu Upadhyaya, Food Safety Assistant Extension Educator. Photo: Kevin Noonan

UConn Extension has collaborated with our partners, communities and stakeholders for over 100 years. We are proud to serve all 169 cities and towns in Connecticut. The worldwide pandemic involving COVID-19 (coronavirus) has produced unprecedented challenges in the UConn community and around the world. Our services continue during this challenging time.

We are still delivering the science-based information you need. We are ready to answer your questions. Consult with us by email or on the phone. All of our educators are working and ready to serve you. Ask us a question online.

We are developing virtual programs to offset canceled in-person learning Abby Beissingeropportunities. Our educators are writing and updating fact sheets and other information. You have access to educational materials on our YouTube channel. We are growing our suite of online resources every day to meet the needs of our communities and stakeholders.

UConn CAHNR Extension educators have curated resources related to COVID-19 for our statewide audiences, including families, businesses, and agricultural producers.

Resources for all audiences includes:

  • Food safety and cooking
  • Hand washing and sanitizers
  • Infection prevention
  • Financial advice
  • Listings of open farms/farmers’ markets and school emergency meal distribution

Parents and families with children out of school can use the resources from our UConn 4-H program to provide new educational activities for youth. Activities available will keep youth engaged and learning and are appropriate for a variety of age groups.

Bruce Hyde presenting at Land Use Academy
Bruce Hyde presenting at Land Use Academy.

A list of resources has been collected for Connecticut businesses. It is a clearinghouse of resources, and not an official site. Business owners can connect to the state resources we provide for official and legal advice.

Agricultural producers are still working on farms, in greenhouses and along the coast in Long Island Sound during the COVID-19 outbreak. Extension educators have developed resources for specific agricultural sectors, including fruit and vegetable farms, aquaculture, and nursery and landscape professionals. Links to important updates from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture also are available.

Our Extension educators are updating and adding resources regularly. Please visit http://bit.ly/COVID-19-Extension.

We are also ready to answer your other questions, including:

  • How do I get my water tested?
  • What is wrong with my plant?
  • Can I eat healthy on a budget?
  • How does my son/daughter join 4-H?

UConn CAHNR Extension has more than 100 years’ experience strengthening communities in Connecticut and beyond. Extension programs address the full range of issues set forth in CAHNR’s strategic initiatives:

  • Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply
  • Enhancing health and well-being locally, nationally, and globally
  • Designing sustainable landscapes across urban-rural interfaces
  • Advancing adaptation and resilience in a changing climate.

Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities.

We are here. We are ready to serve you.

 

Agriculture Producer Survey Request

Angie Harris
Agricultural Producers: Please take this five minute survey on the impacts of COVID-19 on your business. The Governor of Connecticut issued a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order except for essential businesses on March 23, 2020. The Commissioner of Agriculture clarified, per Executive Order 7H, that agriculture businesses are considered “essential businesses”. This anonymous survey will help us to better understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state’s agriculture industry. Results will be used to continue developing Extension resources.
 
Take the survey at: bit.ly/Ag_COVID

Support for the Aquaculture Industry

Marc Harrell
Marc Harrell, manager of Mystic Oysters, checks on brood stock at the Noank Shellfish Cooperative on Thursday. Although most of the co-op is shut down, the brood stock tanks had to be maintained. “This is our future, so we have to keep this going,” Harrell said. Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant

Sales revenue for Connecticut aquaculture producers fell an average of 93 percent in February and March compared to the same period in 2019, and 70 percent of the workforce employed in shellfish, seaweed and finfish farming operations have been laid off due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These are some of the findings of a preliminary summary of a survey of Connecticut’s aquaculture producers. It was conducted by Connecticut Sea Grant, UConn Extension and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture to assess impacts of the pandemic on the industry and inform assistance plans. Sea Grant, the Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are using the list of specific actions recommended by the respondents to design the most effective means of providing short- and long-term assistance, including grants and loans.

Read more.

Soil Testing Lab is Open

soil in hand

In light of agriculture (including community gardening) being designated as essential, the UConn Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory will remain open utilizing best practices; social distancing and disinfecting are a high priority. No one will be allowed in the lab but essential personnel. Any soil tests need to be mailed or left in the drop box outside the lab. Anyone needing a soil test should go to http://www.soiltest.uconn.edu. Tests will take longer because they are running on essential lab personnel only.

Virtual Extension Programs

man sitting at an Apple computerConnect with Extension – even during COVID-19 social distancing. We have a variety of virtual Extension programs available for you over the coming weeks:

  • Friday, April 3rd – All DayInstagram stories with Abby Beissinger, our Plant Diagnostician
  • Friday, April 3rd – 10 AM – Jen Nadeau, our Extension Equine Specialist will share horse books for adults to enjoy in a Facebook Live session
  • Monday, April 6th – 8:30 AM – Extending the Grazing Season webinar hosted by Rachel Bespuda for our program, Nutrition’s Role in Sustainable Livestock Production Practices. Pre-registration is requested.
  • Monday, April 6th – 1:3o PM – Webinar with Cary Chadwick, UConn CLEARFrom Maps to Apps: Accessible Tech for Field Scientists and Citizen Scientists Alike 
  • Wednesday, April 8th – 1:3o PM – Webinar with Emily Wilson, UConn CLEARStatewide LIDAR Elevation Points in Interactive, Color 3D! 
  • Wednesday, April 8th – Starting at 7 PM – Virtual 4-H Trivia begins – play online as an individual or family
  • Wednesday, April 15th – Starting at 7 PM – Virtual 4-H Trivia begins – play online as an individual or family
  • Friday, April 17th – 10 AM – Jen Nadeau, our Extension Equine Specialist will share what you need to know about model horse shows in a Facebook Live session
  • Wednesday, April 22nd – Starting at 7 PM – Virtual 4-H Trivia begins – play online as an individual or family
  • Wednesday, April 29th – Starting at 7 PM – Virtual 4-H Trivia begins – play online as an individual or family
  • Wednesday, May 6th – Starting at 7 PM – Virtual 4-H Trivia begins – play online as an individual or family
  • Wednesday, May 13th – Starting at 7 PM – Virtual 4-H Trivia begins – play online as an individual or family
  • Wednesday, May 20th – Starting at 7 PM – Virtual 4-H Trivia begins – play online as an individual or family
  • Wednesday, May 27th – Starting at 7 PM – Virtual 4-H Trivia begins – play online as an individual or family

Check back often. We are adding programs from our Master Gardener program, as well as programs on cooking and nutrition from UConn EFNEP.

Recorded Webinars and Video Lessons Available On-Demand

Take a Fun, Educational Beach Walk and Share Your Finds

scallop shells on a Connecticut beachBeachcombing along the Connecticut coast can be a fun and healthy educational activity for families eager to get out outdoors while the COVID-19 virus keeps children home from school.
 
Among the many publications available from its website, Connecticut Sea Grant is calling attention to Living Treasures: The Plants and Animals of Long Island Sound, and a series of three pamphlets about seaweeds, shells and beach plants that families can use for easy beach activities. Families are urged to send photos from their outings that will be posted on the Connecticut Sea Grant website.
 

Managing Stress – You and Your Families

stress spelled out with scrabble piecesIn this challenging time, we need to take care of each other and especially ourselves. Self-care is important to our physical and mental health. We all deserve self-care, especially now. Please consider these resources.

The first is a video on managing stress during a pandemic. It was worth the 17 minutes to hear tips on how to care for ourselves and our children. Maybe you are guiding co-workers or elderly parents. We hope this helps:

https://mediasite.video.ufl.edu/Mediasite/Play/bf0a42f96e874778bf47a8517125f1591d

Related Reading Resources: 

English:

How to Cope with Stress https://store.samhsa.gov/system/files/sma14-4894.pdf

Talking to Your Children https://store.samhsa.gov/system/files/pep20-01-01-006_508_0.pdf

Español:

Cómo lidiar con el estrés https://store.samhsa.gov/system/files/sma14-4885spanish.pdf

Cómo hablar con los niños https://store.samhsa.gov/system/files/sma14-4886spanish.pdf

Other Mental Health Resources:

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has a list of five things you should know about stress and you can find that valuable information here:https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml.

Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Crisis Text Line have trained counselors who are ready to listen.  If you would like to talk to someone related to COVID-19, call the National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255, or text the word SHARE to 741741.  Website links can be found here: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org | https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Please take care of yourselves and remember that we are here to help.

Sincerely,

The Connecticut Sea Grant staff

Free Environmental Webinar Series from UConn CLEAR

social distancing
The UConn Center for Land Use Education and Research is offering free webinars. Here is the schedule for the next three weeks:
 
WEDNESDAY MARCH 25, 2020 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM
UConn Environment Corps: Harnessing Student Power to Help Towns
Chet Arnold, CLEAR Director
THURSDAY MARCH 26, 2020 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM
Emergency Changes to the Land Use Process in the COVID-19 Era
Sara C. Bronin
Thomas F. Gallivan Chair of Real Property Law, UConn Law School
Chair, Hartford Planning Commission
 
MONDAY MARCH 30, 2020 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Collaboratives & Utilities: New Options for Municipal Stormwater Management
Amanda Ryan, CLEAR MS4 Extension Educator
 
WEDNESDAY APRIL 1, 2020 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Moving with the Marshes
Juliana Barrett, Coastal Resources Extension Educator, CT Sea Grant
 
MONDAY APRIL 6, 2020 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM
From Maps to Apps: Accessible Tech for field scientists and citizen scientists alike
Cary Chadwick, CLEAR Geospatial Extension Educator
 
WEDNESDAY APRIL 8, 2020 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Statewide Lidar Elevation Points in Interactive, Color 3D!!
Emily Wilson, CLEAR Geospatial Extension Educator
 
Registration:
 
 
 
 

CT Trail Census 2019 Data Reports & New Projects in 2020

CT trail census logo

The University of Connecticut (UConn) Extension is pleased to release the latest data on how several of the state’s most popular multi-use trails are being used, and to announce new initiatives the Connecticut Trail Census program is launching in its fourth year. “Connecticut’s trails are among the state’s most scenic and enduring assets,” observed Charles Tracy, coordinator for the Trail Census. “With three years of data collection complete, we now have a much clearer picture of trail use trends on several of the state’s major multi-use trails. New projects in 2020 will leverage existing data to estimate use on other trails, and to help us understand the statewide impacts, including health and economic benefits, of Connecticut’s diverse trails network.”

Data released today includes Trail Census summaries of the 2019 Trail Counts and Trail User Surveys along with an analysis of the impact of the new Hop River Trail connection to Manchester and East Hartford. The Trail Counts report documented 1,544,158 uses or trips recorded across all 20 sites. The most heavily used trails during 2019 were the Naugatuck River Greenway in Derby, Riverfront Recapture Trail in Hartford, and the Hop River Trail in Vernon. The Trail User Survey report found that the majority of trail users visit them frequently: 64.7% use the trails two or more times per week (in 2018 this was 55.7%). The Hop River Trail report showed how a new 3-mile trail connection was the catalyst for an increase in over 10,000 users in one year.  

Naugatuck Greenway
Naugatuck Greenway

Trail Census projects getting underway in 2020 include research to estimate use on other trails by combining existing Trail Census data and short-term counts; a multi-state conference on bicycle and pedestrian data collection; a new data visualization portal; and preliminary work on creating a statewide trails website, based on similar sites in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

The Connecticut Trail Census is a statewide volunteer-based data collection and education program that operates on trails across the state. The program collects information about trail use through trail use counts recorded by infrared counters and user intercept surveys administered by trained volunteers. The goal is to develop an accurate picture of who uses trails in Connecticut, and to advance and inform new trail policy, design and construction throughout the state. Data is compiled annually and is available online and through public education programs. 

Initiated in 2017 as a partnership between UConn Extension, the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, the Connecticut Greenways Council, and local trails advocacy organizations, the Trail Census has expanded to over 20 data collection sites on trails across the state.  The program receives funding from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Recreational Trails Program. For more information or to get involved visit www.cttrailcensus.uconn.edu.

Report links

2019 Trail Counts (https://bit.ly/2vuHwS0) 

2019 Trail User Surveys (https://bit.ly/2QqqlIF)  

2019 Hop River Trail (https://bit.ly/3d9uBpI)